In Partnership with 74

Zimmer names McKenna, Ratliff, Vladovic as LA Unified reps

Mike Szymanski | July 6, 2015



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Steve ZimmerAfter Steve Zimmer was elected unanimously last week as the LA Unified board president, one of his first orders of business was appointing a Vice President and finding members to represent the district to a series of organizations.

In his first move, he named George McKenna, the District 1 representative, as board vice president, which didn’t require a vote. Then, the board elected others to positions in county, state and national boards. The positions weren’t contested, and neither of the two new members, Ref Rodriguez and Scott Schmerelson, volunteered for any of the spots.

First up was an election for a representative to the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association. That group was started in 1937 by the Los Angeles County Office of Education to provide school board members with training, informational support and ways to network with other school board members in other nearby districts. They collaborate with the California School Boards Association in Sacramento. 

It was suggested by staff that the same person taking that position should also be elected to the voting board of the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization. That’s also a county committee, made up of 11 members, that studies and makes recommendations about forming new school districts and changing boundaries and territories within districts.

Mónica Ratliff agreed to take both positons.

McKenna was named the board representative to the California School Boards Association, a nonprofit group with nearly 1,000 educational agencies throughout the state that serves as a unified voice for school districts and county offices of education.

For the next position, former board president Richard Vladovic suggested that the president of the school board be the representative to the Council of Great City Schools.

“You know the district, you can represent us well in that,” Vladovic said to his successor, Zimmer. “You should appoint yourself.”

The Council of Great City Schools is a national coalition of 67 urban public school districts, based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to bring the highest academic standards to diverse urban school populations.

Zimmer thanked Vladovic for the suggestion and then appointed himself to the position.

Zimmer also created a new position for Vladovic to be a school board liaison to the labor partners. Vladovic agreed.

That left an appointment to the National School Boards Association. Based in Alexandria, Va., this association represents 90,000 school boards and calls itself an “Army of Advocates” for public education. Talk show personality Montel Williams was recently named to lead the association’s “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” campaign.

After no one jumped at that position, and since it is appointed, not elected, Zimmer said, “I will make that appointment later.”

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